Top 5 Free Things to Do in Manchester
One of the biggest cities in the UK and certainly one of the most popular, Manchester seems to have everything going for it; two massive football teams, an internationally-renowned university, a music and club scene that have borne influence for decades and are still going strong. It would be acceptable to say that this city has its own “personality” which is partly thanks to a very rich history.
You certainly won’t get bored on a visit to Manchester, and fortunately it’s possible to see many of the city’s best bits and have a great time even if you’re on the shortest of shoestrings…
See an Original Piece of the Bible
You’ll find one of the greatest collections of manuscripts and printed works in the world at the John Rylands Library. This includes the oldest known fragment of the New Testament – it’s worth a visit just to say you’ve seen that! The building itself is equally magnificent, more reminiscent of a castle or cathedral than a library.
Learn the History of the City – and the World!
No matter what you’re into, there’s a museum in Manchester that should cover it! Many are free to enter, including the following:
The Manchester Museum houses collections from all over the world, including one of the largest collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK. This museum also focuses on the natural world with an enormous sperm whale skeleton, dinosaurs, mummies and live animals.
The Imperial War Museum explores the impact of war on everyday people through powerful and thought-provoking exhibitions and displays. You’ll see artefacts such as a field gun which fired the British Army’s first shot of World War I.
Manchester was the world’s first industrial city, so it needs an entire museum to fit all that history in! At the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) you’ll find out how the city developed and played an important part in science, transport, communication, computing and more. If you’re lucky you might even get to ride a steam train!
Chill out in the Park
Heaton Park is only a short tram ride from the city centre and has everything you need for a Manchester day out. You can relax on the acres of grass, visit the park’s play areas, cafes, animal centre, tram museum, bowling greens, boating lake or even try your hand at horse riding.
Take in some Art
No matter what kind of art you prefer, the Whitworth Art Gallery has it covered, housing a famous collection of British watercolours, modern and historic prints, drawings, paintings and sculptures, textiles and wallpapers.
The Manchester Art Gallery shows both historic and contemporary works, from pre-Raphaelite paintings to C20th designs. You don’t need to worry about the kids getting bored either – this gallery was shortlisted for the Guardian Family Friendly Museum of the Year award in 2010.
See the New Home of the BBC
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ll be aware that the BBC is moving its main headquarters from London to a new site in Salford Quays, Manchester.
The first phase of MediaCityUK has now been completed, with impressive uber-modern buildings overlooking the canal and centred around a 5-acre piazza. It aims to become a destination in itself, and is also a stone’s throw from other Salford Quays attractions like the Lowry Arts Centre, Outlet Mall and the Imperial War Museum.